Brighton v Everton
Brighton have made an excellent start to the season, securing victories over Burnley and Watford before another over potential banana skin Cardiff City in the League Cup. They scored twice in all three games and although Everton represent a step up in quality, the Toffees are yet to demonstrate the defensive resolve new manager Rafa Benitez is known for.
Everton have enjoyed a decent start to the campaign, beating Southampton and picking up a point away at Leeds, while serving a scare in the League Cup as they beat Huddersfield 2-1 with 10 men. They are yet to register a clean sheet though and with Brighton a more attacking outfit these days under Graham Potter, both sides will fancy their chances of registering on the board.
That’s especially the case with striker Neil Maupay seemingly fit for this encounter, having suffered a slight shoulder injury against Watford, while Danny Welbeck could make the bench. Moise Kean will be suspended for Everton after his sending off last time out against Huddersfield, but had only been utilized once as a 90th-minute substitute across their first two league games. James Rodriguez is yet to feature this season, but it’s Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin who are the key men in attack and will be joined by one of either Alex Iwobi or Andros Townsend in attack.
Calvert-Lewin has scored in both league games so far, before taking a rest for the Huddersfield clash as he wasn’t even in the squad. He’s scored in two of his three appearances against Brighton over the past two campaigns, despite only starting two of those games, and will hope to emulate his storming start to last season as ne netted 11 times across Everton’s first 11 fixtures.
BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE
DOMINIC CALVERT-LEWIN TO SCORE ANYTIME
West Ham v Crystal Palace
Following an excellent sixth-placed finish last term where they ended up just two points adrift of Chelsea, West Ham have enjoyed a positive pre-season which includes 6-2 and 2-0 victories over Celtic and Atalanta respectively. The return of competitive action has yielded back-to-back wins over Newcastle (4-2) and Leicester (4-1), as the attacking output has been particularly encouraging.
Palace enjoyed their own positive results in pre-season, but Patrick Viera has yet to take a competitive win. An opening day loss to Chelsea can be excused, even if the performance was particularly poor and the 3-0 scoreline could have been worse, but they’ve since been held to a goalless draw hosting newly promoted Brentford and gone down 1-0 to Watford in the League Cup.
That means the Eagles are yet to even score as a lack of cutting edge remains a problem, though they should hope to get on the scoreboard given the high-scoring nature of West Ham’s results. Both teams have actually scored in all eight head-to-heads over the past four campaigns, with the teams sharing an even W2-D4-L2 record over this spell.
Kurt Zouma’s arrival at West Ham appears imminent, but he’s unlikely to be ready to go straight into the team here and David Moyes’ men only have one clean sheet from their past 13 league games. Palace can capitalize to give their forwards some confidence, though with a new-look defence following a number of departures this summer, it’s hard to see them faring so well down the other end.
BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE
Tottenham v Watford
Tottenham have opened their campaign with back-to-back 1-0 victories over Man City and Wolves and the picture looks a lot rosier with Harry Kane’s immediate futures settled. The England captain returned to the starting line-up on Thursday and had already come close before opening the scoring against Pacos de Ferreira inside 10 minutes, before adding another before half time, helping Tottenham overcome an embarrassing first-leg defeat in Portugal.
Heung-min Son has been thriving in a central role in Kane’s absence, but has of course proven his ability out wide and has a successful partnership with the wantaway striker. Wherever he features, his speed on the break suits Nuno Espirito Santo’s counter-attacking style. Moreover, the Korean has scored five times against Watford in his career, with Southampton, Dortmund and Man City the only teams he’s put more past.
Tottenham’s attack is shaping up nicely with Dele Alli like a new signing having been marginalized under Jose Mourinho, so they’ll fancy filling their boots against a Watford side that have shipped four goals across their first two league games. The Hornets will however be reasonably satisfied with their return to top-flight action so far. An opening day win over Villa was followed by defeat to Brighton, but they’ll take heart from their League Cup triumph over Palace last time out, even if the Eagles are lacking a clinical edge to their game. Still, Tottenham have only conceded the single goal across four competitive outings this term, as well as in their final pre-season encounter as they downed North London rivals Arsenal 1-0, so should be able to handle any attacking threat offered by their visitors.
TOTTENHAM TO WIN TO NIL